Title: Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams
Cherished One Series Book One
A Tarnished Novel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical, M/M,Erotic, Romance,
Length: 274 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel
Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.
As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.
The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?
No one writes better historical novels than Brita Addams so it comes as absolutely no surprise that her latest release, Beloved Unmasked, is another brilliantly written and well researched gay romance. Spanning several years, this first installment in the Cherished One series takes place in New Orleans and features David Reid’s journey from abused son of a prostitute to well-respected lawyer.
Despite his humble beginnings and the abuse at the hands of his mother, David Reid (aka Picayune) remains optimistic and determined to make a better life for himself. He is well respected by everyone he meets and he is not afraid of hard work. He has people looking out for him who encourage him to get an education so he can take a different career path. Once he makes it out of the district and realizes his dreams, David never forget those who helped him and he remains loyal to them long after everyone has moved on.
Growing up in the red light district, David is no stranger to sex, but he wants more than quick, meaningless sexual encounters. His relationship with rent boy Spencer Webb is full of laughter and although David’s feelings run deeper than friendship, Spence holds him at arms’ length. Spence’s own past is troubled yet he manages to remain light, carefree and accepting of his fate. When the US enters World War I, Spencer is conscripted into service then sent to France in the months leading up to the end of the war.
However, the person who has the most influence on David’s life is Emile Dauterive. A successful lawyer with political aspirations, Spence introduces the two men and when David strikes out on his own, Emile offers to help him achieve his goals. Emile has David’s best interests at heart and he provides him with a place to live, a job and the money to go college. He wants nothing in return except friendship and David graciously and eagerly accepts his conditions. Although he sometimes oversteps in an effort to protect David from getting hurt, Emile cares deeply for him and their friendship easily weathers a few storms.
Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams is an engaging rags to riches story that is well-researched and stars a cast of memorable characters. The novel is impeccably researched and rife with historical details that bring the time period, characters and setting vibrantly to life. With unexpected plot twists and the tiniest hint of drama, this first installment in the Cherished One series is a captivating tale that readers of historical gay romances do not want to miss. An outstanding novel that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.